If you are here, this is for you. That was the name of the one-man performance art show written by Rob Horne, which I saw it performed by Brian Ora Coya back in 1998.
I met Brian at Cleveland Food Not Bombs, where I’d show up every Sunday to help cook soup for the homeless. Brian was passing through on a two-day tour. (The second day he performed in Chicago at the amazing Hotel Kafka; read the Chicago Tribune review here.) Brian rode freight trains and did performance art, and he sold copies of photographs he took while he was traveling.
Although I’ve never wanted to hop trains myself, I was drawn to his ideas on freedom and following your dreams and finding your way in the real world, not the one that has been created for you. And yet there was such a strong sense of restlessness, discontent and longing… It was raw and honest and grating and real. I wanted to share some quotes from the script. I’ve left the typos, etc. intact to maintain the spirit of the piece.
“once, it was said of me that i showed promise, of what i am not certain, but i felt early on that this promise, in the world of those who would say such things, could only mean a slow spiritual death for me, and that if i were ever to assume the raiment of my true self that this promise must remain unfulfilled in the eyes of the world. in this way it could gain some sort of a meaning, even for me.
i have tried entering the gates of the spectacle, mingling with the guests, engaging in late night barroom confidences & drunken feats, great sudden pooltable smirks like a mongol in a mall, a haj in detroit, a flame under water. there is nothing there for me, nothing but laments, sighs and unsung dirges and from these i am tired unto wakefullness. i must leave….”
“i knew that this was not of the world which i was seeking but something constructed by those in the world i had escaped from because the world which i sought was bigger and louder and brighter and darker and tasted stronger than anything i could hope to contain because it was THE WORLD and not a little box and in that world i could intuit and dream much more than those other ways of understanding things….
in the real world, outside this box, the more you absorb, the more you perceive, even that which you cannot comprehend but simply mutely openly apprehend, without trying to break down, without trying to categorize, the larger you become, because you cannot contain the whole of this experience, and yet you must always expand to meet the unmeetable dimensions which call you forth, seducing you out of yourself.
it is not always safe outside of the box, but safer by far to never find your true self outside of the box than to have found yourself inside of the box. then, you are not even a monster, you simply do not exist.”
“there’s nothing like the roaring silence of night and the cool wind after getting dropped off from a ride, jumping down onto the road and slamming the door shut. the wind is whistling and the night air smells so alive, it’s the smell of freedom, of knowing that half the world is asleep but you’re not, you’re still alive, and you’ve got somewhere to go.
this feeling of being alive in the darkness while the world sleeps reminds me of when i was a child and i would wake up at five a.m., about two hours before i had to leave for school, and would lay on the cool wood floor and read comic books with a flashlight. i liked being awake in a secret world while everyone else slept. the rest of the day was something I dreaded, my father and the schoolteachers and other teachers would be doing their level best ot wipe their muddy shoes on my neck the whole day, but it didn’t matter. i drew my strength from the night. those few hours were a highway which took me to endless marseilles’, middle earths and the occasional idaho. now that i am older i can lay on the floor of the world, reading it like a comic book the whole night if i choose, and do not have to go to ‘school’ in the repulsive daylight anymore. i study at the university of myself.”
Please leave your thoughts or comments.